The cellular industry’s clash over the movement to remake networks

The wireless industry is divided on Open RAN’s goal to make network components interoperable

When all is said and done, 5G will cost almost US $1 trillion to deploy over the next half decade. How can we make this cheaper and more flexible? One approach is Open RAN (for radio access network, the framework that links an end device like a cellphone and the larger, wired, core network), which would make it possible to mix and match network components from different companies, with the goal of fostering more competition and driving down prices.

One version of Open RAN would split the RAN into smaller components beyond the radio and the baseband unit. “That’s maybe one of the brightest opportunities that Open RAN could provide,” said Theodore (Ted) S. RappaportFounding Director of NYU WIRELESS.